TOWARDS INCLUSION: FROM UNDERSTANDING BIAS TO INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP
Changing behaviour is a challenge for all of us. But often, behviour is rooted in our life experiences so far and what we have seen and learned unconsiously.
We know that Unconscious Bias can be a very intellectually stimulating topic. And it's where most organisations start from.
Our Towards Inclusion program builds from Unconscious Bias as a base, to Psychological Safety - to create a culture of trust and openess allowing behaviour and language to be challenged.
To make it most relevant, we consider the difference between conscious and unconscious bias, but also play through typical scenarios to test where people may not recognize their own potential biases.
But the challenge is ensuring that attendees move from understanding the concept to seeing where their own biases may lie.
Build in an understanding of Psychological Safety then empowers colleagues at all levels to move to reflect on their own behaviours – as well as potentially challenging that of others.
The final level is then to build Inclusive Leasdership into the skillset of all people leaders. Which ensures all team members are supported to deliver to their full potential.
More details on Unconcious Bias can be found below:
An overview of Unconscious Bias
Our brains are complex. We all have certain impulses that we follow – some consciously, some unconsciously. They can stem from our basic functions (breathing, moving), our core animal reactions (fear, flight) as well as the environment in which we live or people we grow up and engage with.
Unconscious biases are beliefs and response-systems we hold about groups of people and then affect the way we think about, respond and engage with them. Those stereotypes affect our every-day judgements and the decisions we make.
But equally important are the systems and processes around us. These can either support these biases, or can be designed to help us be more aware – and then avoid the poor decisions that can result. This includes creating cultures where colleagues feel safe to challenge and this results in positive conversation, reflection and change. It can be easy to believe you have an open culture when you are a part of the mainstream.
What is the problem?
Unconscious biases can cloud our judgement, behaviour and affect decisions we make. Having far-reaching impacts on all levels, implicit biases often prevent effective decision-making whilst further exacerbating inequalities and prejudices within society. Whether in recruiting, building an employer brand, nurturing and promoting talent or getting the best from all team members, eroding the impact of unconscious biases is vital to building and maintain a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
There are different kinds of unconscious biases that might affect you. Here are some of the more typical examples:
You tend to like working with people who have things in common with you. It's a very natural trait. But there is a chance you become too comfortable and champion them, over others who you may not have as much in common with - but could actually do a better job.
You try to find reasons for the behaviour or situation that others are in, but as you are never fully objective, you build in bias as you neer know the full story. This can lead to you rejectng candidates or ideas without realising you are being biased.
You are easily influenced by other people’s opinion on an applicant and seek the confirmation of others. Effectively, you like people who just 'fit in'. Instead of defending your own opinions, you bend to the majority’s opinion - or reject people who take a different perspective.
Halo / HornsEffect
Having an impressive past (for example excelling at one project, or having a great previous employer on a CV) leads you put a 'halo' over that employee and assume they will be great at a range of things as a result. Which may not always be the case - but their history protects their reputation. The opposite is true of the horns effect when someone has failed at a project - and that 'brand' travels with them.
How can impetus help you?
Each of our clients is different. Our Impetus Unconscious Bias training is tailored to help team members understand their own biases as well as to sense-check and change their behaviour and language. We also consider the culture, systems and processes that exist in your organisation that might allow biases to go unchecked.
To confidence to learn and a psychologically safe space to raise issues, challenge and ‘call in’ behaviour, our training:
Uses inclusive language that challenges, but doesn’t drive people to stay silent
Includes a focus on systems, processes and building goals to move towards change, rather than just looking at theory
Allows those who are natural champions to excel, whilst supporting those who are more reticent to begin their journeys
Gives people a change to practice, using well-researched tools
From planning, to facilitation and delivery, we want to work with you to create an environment for experiences to be shared, drive individual understanding and change and building momentum to have systems and processes that support all team members to build a more inclusive workplace.